Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Ah, the holidays. Time for giving, sharing and arguing with your colleagues. Those of you who have been with us since the beginning might remember the first non-official, official blogger ACC/Big East challenge. Some of you liked it, some of you didn't. Regardless, Big East blogger Brian Bennett and I kept ourselves amused and did it again.
Here is Part II of the non-official, official challenge:
Brian Bennett: All right, Heather. Back in September we had some fun debating whether the ACC or the Big East was the worst BCS league. I guess you won that one since the ACC has got like 32 bowl teams, though none of them are ranked higher than Cincinnati. But we've got another round coming in bowl season, when the ACC and Big East meet in three different games. Who's sitting prettier (or less ugly) when the dust clears Jan. 2?
Heather Dinich: Well, the ACC was 2-2 against the Big East during the regular season, and since 2001, the Big East has a better bowl record than the ACC. You guys are 20-14 since then, and the ACC is 27-22. I think that trend will start to tip, though, with the ACC coming out on top this bowl season, 2-1. Sorry, but I'm taking Russell Wilson over Mike Teel, and as for the Meineke Car Care Bowl, they may as well move the game to Chapel Hill ...
BB: I'll agree with you on the Meineke Car Care Bowl, because North Carolina absolutely smoked Rutgers and UConn this year. But I strongly disagree on the Papajohns.com Bowl. Rutgers has been playing lights-out for the past month or so, and unless they're bummed about being in Birmingham, the Scarlet Knights are going to pound NC State like South Florida did earlier this year.
But, really, only one game matters, and that's champs vs. champs. I see by your projected record you're already conceding that Virginia Tech will lose to Cincinnati in the FedEx Orange Bowl. Is that because the ACC hasn't won a BCS game since people were worried about the Y2K problem? And doesn't your league need to win one of these someday to have any credibility?
HD: Strongly disagree? As in, strenuously object? Look, in case you haven't noticed, NC State has kind of been on a hot streak. And the Pack had a better team in their training room for that South Florida game. They were missing their top two playmakers on offense AND defense. The bloggers could've pounded NC State in that game (with me at quarterback, though, not you).
You're right though, only one counts, and the ACC is desperate to win it. Frank Beamer is desperate to win it. The conference is on an eight-game losing streak in its BCS games. Based on experience, I give the coaching edge to Beamer and his staff, but I think Cincinnati's rushing defense will be too good for the Hokies. I'm not sure how they've fared against mobile quarterbacks like Tyrod Taylor, though. And as for having some credibility, talk to me about that after your Big East champs make more than one BCS appearance.
Yes, it's true that the Bearcats are brand new at this. But winning BCS games is old hat for the Big East. This will be four straight wins, which I'd take over 0-for-9 any day. And Cincinnati should be a top 10 team at the end of the season, which leads to my final question: Is it better for a league to have one highly-ranked team or a bunch of mediocre ones in the 15-to-30 range like the ACC has?
HD: Ouch! Man, you're harsh. But the truth hurts. The ACC needs a dominant team pushing for a final top 10 ranking, otherwise four- and five-loss teams are going to be the league's highlight of the bowl season. It doesn't matter if the entire conference is bowl eligible every year if they're not winning the big games against the best competition. Does Cincinnati legitimately fall into that category? I mean, exactly how good of a win would that really be for the Hokies?
I'll give you the last word.
BB: You're too kind. This is all in good fun of course. And I never even got around to my ACC title game jokes. (If they play a championship game and no one is there to see it, does it really exist?) Luckily, unlike a lot of things in college football, we'll get to settle at least part of this debate on the field. And then one of us will have the upper hand when we start arguing again next fall.